Friday, November 20, 2009

Deep In the Forest

I just finished the second round of the Random Swap. One of the random things I sent my partner was a forest/woodland creature altered board book. It was my first finished altered book, and it was really hard to send off, because I kind of loved it! My pictures aren't the best, because I finished everything at around 4:45 on the day it was due to be sent out, and the post office closes at 5:30! I usually do my best work under pressure, but I really went down to the wire on this one.

This is my favorite spread. I used acrylic paint for the background and paint chips (hurray for free crafting supplies!) to make the trees and leaves.
The text says "When autumn comes...the leaves change from lush green to fiery red and gold."

Here's the cover of the book. I had the idea for the autumn leaves spread for my own altered journal, and then found this Discovery children's forest book with great pictures. My partner had mentioned that woodland creatures was one of her favorite themes, and requested an altered book, so I decided that this was the perfect project. All that I actually ended up using from the original forest book were the background of forest trees on the cover and a mushroom that shows on a later page.
I love these thumbprint owls! I totally borrowed inspiration from another talented crafter. All the text on this page is dictionary and thesaurus entries for various woodsy words.

More thesaurus/dictionary entries and some random foresty paper bits I dug out of my stash.

Nearly every forest kids' book I had went into the making of this background. The blurry little creatures are from a Russian picture dictionary. They include the Russian spelling and phonetic pronunciation guide.
A series of inchies made on some woodgrain cardboard that came with a set of notecards and old sheet music, plus a couple leftover autumn trees. The little kindergarten creatures are made with puffy fabric paint, which I have recently loved working with because it gives really nice texture. I also used some buttons, one of my other favorite things to embellish with.

I really enjoyed this project, and I definitely want to make more altered board books. They're the perfect size, and not too many pages to plan. I don't know if I'll do another one for a swap though, because they're too hard to give up!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ladybug, Ladybug Fly Away Home

This year was the bug's first big Halloween. She had a play group Halloween costume party, and we decided she was big enough for some light trick-or-treating. The last two Halloweens she was a lobster, because the boy had to have a lobster costume. A very privileged few actually saw Lobster Baby, since she was really too little to enjoy the Halloween festivities. This year, I wanted to make her Halloween costume, and since lately she's been all about bugs, a bug she had to be. The original plan was a plain red or yellow sweat shirt (like the ones that covered an entire wall at Target back in the day) and some black leggings, and she would be either a ladybug or a bumblebee depending on what color we could get. So I looked, and looked, and looked. Apparently, toddlers these days are way too cool for the sweatsuits we wore when I was a kid, because it was impossible to find one! Finally at the last minute, we found a red turtleneck. The finished costume was a collaboration between myself and my mommy, because I can't sew in a circle and I'm the slowest ever hand sewer. She made a pretty cute little ladybug, if I do say so myself.
PS - The wings, they sparkle. So do some of her spots.

Here's a front view, I was going to do dots on the front, but ladybugs don't really have on their bellies, so I did stripes instead. I went with piggy tail antennae, because I didn't know how long a headband would last. And yes, she's trick-or-treating with an apple, it was the only way we could get her out of the house without a tantrum.
All told, the costume probably cost about $5. We already had the leggings and shoes, the turtleneck was about $3, and the felt was 79-99 cents a sheet for 4 sheets. And in my opinion, way cuter than any of the ladybug costumes we found online. Trick-or-treating was pretty successful, and even though she didn't say thank you at every house, she at least gave them a good ladybug buzz of gratitude.

Gratuitous Lobster Baby photo. She was only 10 days old and this was the smallest size available. It's stuffed full of towels so she wasn't lost in it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Halloween has come and gone, and since it's a pretty crafty holiday, here are a couple Halloweeny projects: Jack-o-lanterns, of course (hey, I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here).My moon and stars. Anyone who saw how I decorated my room in high school should not be surprised that this is a fairly common theme for me (bonus, moons and stars are fairly hard to screw up, even for someone with kindergarten drawing skills such as myself).

The boy's Sumirian Sun God (what?) I thought it looked like a three-eyed-alien.

Oh, no! Pumpkin on pumpkin violence! (Actually, I think the bug is just helping clean the pumpkin pre-carving. She wasn't really as into the whole messy scooping part as I thought she would be. Maybe next year).

And, just cause, the mini pumpkin pies I took to our play group's Halloween costume party. You can see some much cuter, more photogenic versions over at Bakerella, where I got the recipe. I even forgot the sugar (health conscious and all, but not really, I mostly just forgot) and they were still a hit.


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